A longitudinal study will examine influences on and the impact of changing interdependence patterns between elderly widows and their caregiving daughters. Mother/daughter pairs with baseline assessments are the sample. The study will test these hypotheses: (a) obligatory caregiving, care provision (not management), differing perceptions of need and health, and increases in care over time are negatively related to intimacy, attachment, and benefits and positively related to costs; (b) in pairs with high relationship quality, mothers' increasingly dependent on their daughters balance their relational exchanges; (c) high-quality relationships are positively associated with assessments of mothers' decision-making competence and decisions and actions for future care; and (d) discretionary- caregiving daughters in high-quality, reciprocal-exchange relationships have a more difficult bereavement. The purposive sample is 150 elderly widows and their primary-caregiving daughters; 50 control pairs have no care needed. Dyad members will be interviewed separately. Measures will assess perceived intimacy, attachment, care needs, reasons for caregiving, costs and benefits of caregiving, help provided, mother's decision- making competence, and decisions made and actions taken for future care. Both will report on previous day's activities in 9 telephone interviews. Bereaved daughters will be interviewed at 6 months and near-yearly anniversaries of the mother's death. Repeated-measures MANOVAs will show individual and between- group differences over time in: (a) relationship quality and costs and benefits of parent caring for care providing vs. care managing, obligatory vs. discretionary caregiving, and pairs wherein care increased over time; (b) mother's aid and perceived costs and benefits for those in higher- vs. lower-quality relationships and those wherein care increased; and (c) bereavement for daughters with higher- vs. lower-quality relationships, reciprocal vs. nonreciprocal aid-exchange patterns, and discretionary vs. obligatory caregiving. Chi-square analyses will assess differences in competence, decisions, and actions for future care between high- and low-quality relationships. The study is important because of the connection between intergenerational relationships and quality of life. Long-term objectives are to maintain mothers and daughters as reciprocal support sources and to identify ways in which the elderly are active social partners.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 1 (HUD)
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Oregon State University
Sch of Home Econ/Human Ecology
United States
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McGraw, Lori A; Walker, Alexis J (2004) Negotiating care: ties between aging mothers and their caregiving daughters. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 59:S324-32
Walker, A J; Acock, A C; Bowman, S R et al. (1996) Amount of care given and caregiving satisfaction: a latent growth curve analysis. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 51:P130-42
Walker, A J; Martin, S S; Jones, L L (1992) The benefits and costs of caregiving and care receiving for daughters and mothers. J Gerontol 47:S130-9
Walker, A J; Allen, K R (1991) Relationships between caregiving daughters and their elderly mothers. Gerontologist 31:389-96